You are playing as the sovereign. You don't even have to build cities with your essense, that's just one of your tools to defeat other Sovereigns. If you want to it should be a viable play option to never build a city. If your player character dies, you die. Why exactly is this a bad thing? You (as the Sovereign) spent your essence to build your empire. You didn't spend the essence of your 'dynasty'.
Finally, as the Sovereign, how exactly do you plan on continuing to control your empire after your death? You're dead. Unless the game institutes god-hood after death, or makes death meaningless, the game should be over when you get killed. Games generally do not continue after you lose.
Well, people likes options and that's not bad (altough it might be expensive sometimes?). I can understand the fear to lose the Sovereign because of bad luck and get some game over. Or that some people will just dedicate to play to "Hunt the Sovereign" (why should that affect my single player experience? I won't play that style so not my problem). Simply put, some people only want defeat if they are totally anihilated (or diplo, research, quest victory happen) which obvously doesn't help the idea of losing your Sovereign (The Sauron of the LotR) = Game Over.
I understand their troubles but as adamant as some can be about hating the idea, I'm as adamant in loving it. No one ask the King in chess to be hidden or have a dinasty if he dies (not very good example because the only victory condition is to kill the King but you get the idea... I hope). Because I see this game as chess but with more victory conditions. And I love the feeling.
Therefore, the only real solution is to have it as optional (appart form giving some extra options like hiding for those who like the idea of the sovereign death = game over). And I fear that some features that Starodck might want to include could end out or limited in such way, being made optional with a check (but compulsory in campaign mode... which only a few of us will play then? )
I feel like some people (without bad intentions, obviously, I don't think bad of anyone here except of one user which I won't mention) tries to limit Stardock's creativity to offer us something new and fun so they offer us the usual stuff with a fresh coat of paint and some flowers (I'm exagerating so please don't feel offended, it's just the feeling I get sometimes), instead of risking the chance for a whole garden. We have barely started beta. We have many months ahead of us to test many different ideas. Stardock is more than ready to listen (which is not the same that to do anything that users order... they have to put limits somewhere because of reasons of their own). And I just wished that we could all try things first before judging them as "evil". Yes, I'm conscious that the Sovereign balance would be difficult and that depends a lot of the rest of the game mechanics... but what are we here if not?
Many ideas proposed "against" sovereign death = game over are good and I hope Stardock takes somehow note. Yet I hope that I can play the game as closely as possible as to what Stardock envisions. And if I don't like it, have the options to play it differently.
Ok, sorry for the wall of silly text. I'll back to v0.24 or something.